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Monday, 18 February 2013


Last week was the exhibition launch for Kingston Making Fixperts at the Stanley Picker Gallery. Fixperts is an organisation determined to advocate the idea of fixing things, and aims to connect designers and makers with people who could do with some help fixing day to day problems. Films created of the fixpert process by students at kingston were exhibited, along with photos taken from each group. Check out how busy it was!

This project sounded like a fantastic idea, so this is the story of our fix. I, with three others went about finding someone to help, aka a fixpartner. Easier said than done. Some people thought we were a repair company. Some felt offended at the thought they might need help. Others still never got back to us. This project was proving difficult to even start! Finally however, with the deadline looming, we stumbled upon the lovely people at Stone Hair Salon in Kingston. We got chatting to the founder John and receptionist Lauren, and met the Salon dog, Rotten.

After a grand tour and more chatting we had heard about some issues we could possibly fix, and some we couldn't (Lauren would really love a new desk please John!). Having narrowed it down to two, we set about working out how to fix them. It quickly became clear that one which involved use of hair dye would be quite complicated given the time frame, so we focused on solving the problem with their light switches.

One switch controls the lights above their consultation area, and is easily knocked as it's located in a coat cupboard. Unfortunately, this switch is also on a timer, and with no instruction manual can't be turned back on! Imagine having a consultation with a hairdresser in the dark. Not good. This seemed like it would require quite a simple fix, but one that would make a big difference to Stone Hair.

One weekend, a few tests and lots of measuring later, we had a cover for the switch, and what we hoped would be a successful fix. Having taken it to the salon to fit however, we discovered that our cover got in the way of the coat hangers in the cupboard. Uh oh! Luckily James, one of our team members, had a saw in his bag - one he had bought earlier. A quick alteration out the back and our cover was ready.

Lauren wasn't in that day, but John was delighted with our creation, as simple as it was. The rest of the salon is quite minimal and tidy, so we made it as unobtrusive as possible, painting it white to fit in with the rest of the cupboard. John was pleased and so were we, a successful fix!

Have a look at fixperts.org for more information, and to see everyone else's films. Fixperts project by myself, James GreenJackie Dermawan and Irmak Osman. (Thanks to James for the photos).

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